WHO ARE YOU
Taking steps forward to solidify your impact on a system means you need to have a pretty good idea of where you're about to step. In order to plan your tragectory, it is imperative you know where you are coming from, who you are and what you believe in.
In her paper 'In praise of reflective practice', Caroline Leeson writes "reflective practice... should be a crucial aspect of professional work and lifelong learning." As educators we reflect on our students but how often do we sit down and critique our own actions? If we don't look back on what we have done, we most definitely won't improve ourselves, those around us or the system we find ourselves inside.
You meet a new person and are asked what you do. How do you answer? It's likely something straightforward like 'I teach kindergarten.' But what does that really mean? Who are kindergarteners, what are they being taught, and for what purpose? Dr. Patrick Ryan has penned a beautiful paper outlining how children have been viewed and how we could view them now.
WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IN?
When we know who we truly are, what we really stand for, our actions begin to automatically echo these sentiments. Paulo Freire, in his book 'Pedagogy of the Oppressed,' discusses how "reflection, true-reflection leads to action" (p.66). When we "develop our power to perceive critically the way we exist in the world with which and in which we find ourselves; we come to see the world not as a static reality but as a reality in the process of transformation" (p.12). The woman carrying the next stepping stone in the image above knows who she is through critical reflection. She can see where she came from, and now, she IS an active component in the transformation of her reality. She is holding the next stepping stone and will lay it where it will be most beneficial to her, the river and the stone itself. She is a critical practitioner. How well do you know yourself? Let's find out.
Now that you have checked out 'Reflection Time' and 'Let's Explore' you should have a strong understanding of how you currently teach, who you believe children are and how you believe knowledge is acquired. You know who you are as an educator. Now let's learn about the system in which you work, how it came to be and why its policies and curricula exist in the manner in which they do.